JOHN'S REASON FOR WRITING
1 John 2:12-14 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name's sake. I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known Him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known Him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.
Just as John began the first verse of this chapter by addressing my little children, so he begins this verse addressing those to whom he is writing as little children. Scholars agree the words translated in these two verses, as little children, are identical and carry the meaning of saints or Christians. This means that John, in these inspired words, is directing this message to all that have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and have been baptized into His body, the church of Christ. These men and women, within His church, are God's adopted children, and through obedient faith, have become brothers and sisters of His Son, Jesus Christ. He identifies them as His little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name's sake.
It was the encouraging words of correction and admonition that John directed, in this epistle, to these Christians - these little children. The reason they were referred to as little children was due to their obedient faith which lead them to be baptized into the body of Christ for the remission of their sins, and, because of this, God added them to His church. John told them in this scripture that it was because your sins are forgiven you for His (Jesus Christ's) name sake. Similarly, it was God's little children that Paul was referring to when he admonished the Christians at Ephesus to be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you (Eph. 4:32).
With this introduction, John then divides these Christians into three classes - fathers, ...young men, (and) ...little children. Here the translation of little children is taken from a different original word, and has a different meaning than that found in verse 12. Here little children refers to a distinct spiritual group of God's children - those that were infants in scriptural knowledge - those that had recently accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior - those that are referred to as babes in Christ (1 Cor. 3:1).
John wrote unto the fathers, because ye have known Him that is from the beginning. It is doubtful if these had known Jesus Christ personally in the flesh, but they knew of Him. They knew Him to be the Son of God, the Messiah, and the Savior of the world. They knew Him because they knew the gospel message of salvation that He ushered into the world, through the preaching of His apostles, and other inspired disciples. They knew Him because they had answered God's call to salvation, and through obedient faith, had been baptized into the body of Christ. They knew Him because, after becoming followers of Christ, they continued to walk with Jesus in the enlightened path that He provided for all Christians to follow.
John wrote unto the young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. The strength these young men had developed as Christians, along with the acceptance, and commitment, of God's word to guide their lives, had given them the spiritual ability to overcome every temptation of the flesh that Satan, the wicked one, placed in their pathway of life.
John wrote unto the little children (babes in Christ), because ye have known the Father. This Father/child relationship is extremely important to young Christians. The protection, guidance, and salvation available in our heavenly Father, can only be found through His Son, Jesus Christ. To know Jesus as the Savior, is the only possible way for mankind to know God, as the Creator of all, and the Author of eternal salvation (See Matt. 11:27; Luke 10:22; John 14:7). There is no greater compliment to a godly father than to have children that are faithfully obedient to instruction. For Christians to be His children, they must know, and accept God, as their heavenly Father, His Son as their Savior, and His will as their own. Considering this inspired message, we areassured that this wasJohn's reason for writing.